Cleveland Browns: 3 defensive takeaways from the Week 6 loss
Jaosn McCourty holding down the defensive back unit
In just six games this season safety Jason McCourty has three interceptions and has forced two fumbles. Once again, he is proving he remains a starter in the NFL and Browns coaching staff must be pleasantly surprised.
His 57-yard touchdown got Cleveland their first touchdown of the day on Sunday. However, not even that could light a spark for the Browns offense. Still, seeing him make these plays is satisfying and makes his signing better. According to PFF, Jason McCourty is the top-rated cornerback in all of the NFL.
The Houston Texans have arguably the best overall wide receiver in the NFL in DeAndre Hopkins. That said, McCourty shadowed him 87 percent of the game and despite giving up a touchdown, played well against the All-Pro receiver.
It’s been a rather up-and-down season for the Browns defense, yet they continue to grow each week. The run defense is still among the NFL’s best and their defensive backs have played fairly well throughout six games as well.
In what seems to be a weekly criticism, rookie Jabrill Peppers has not been as productive as he can be. Though, that is not necessarily on him as lining up 25 yards from scrimmage typically will not allow one to make much of an impact. However, Peppers’ lack of coverage skills remains a key issue and why defensive coordinator Gregg Williams consistently throws him deep in the backfield.
Peppers’ confidence can and should be a bit shook thus far and this is another factor that played into the McCourty signing. As the veteran and leader of the defensive backs, he needs to be there for Peppers and ensure that he wants to learn the position and stay focused.
The former Michigan star played a variety of positions in college, leaving holes in his game at safety where he has been playing for the Browns. This is McCourty’s spot to help develop Peppers and watching McCourty thrive should only motivate the rookie more.